Have been since the beginning of time and always will be with us. Anybody who has ever worked with the unemployed (as have I) knows there are those who devote their lives to suckling at the tit of the system.
But, they also know that such individuals are anomalies and that most who find themselves jobless work diligently to rectify the situation and quite often (much more often than not) are successful in so doing.
But, there are those politicians who like to make political hay over indicting those they see as lazy sonsabitches who are only without work due to their own idleness.
Take Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, for example. Mr. Flaherty from his Ottawa bastion of safety and huge-huge pension potential made the public assertion recently, and to the effect, that there was no such thing as a bad job, and people should take whatever shit employment comes down the pike rather than ripping off all those hard-working taxpayers and making his government look bad.
Well, his exact words were: “There is no bad job, the only bad job is not having a job,” he told reporters. “I drove a taxi, I refereed hockey. You do what you have to do to make a living.”
You drove a cab, Jim? Good on you. In that I guess you joined all those medical doctors and scientists from Mumbai who can’t secure a position in this country that’s elevated about being a hack. But, that’s a whole other thing.
Anyway, at issue is something in this country known as EI – ‘Employment Insurance’, per se. When I was young, and when people were more honest about life’s realities, it was known as Un-employment Insurance. I guess somebody thought a truthful title was nasty.
Of course, this whole thing about EI is a lot of government grandstanding. EI, which is contributed to by the employed and employers is abrim with largesse and under no threat. Furthermore, it’s an insurance program, it isn’t the dole.
But, you know, it just doesn’t look good for a government that seems to be seeking ever-increasing control of the bad children that live in the country. Lost your job? Nice mid-management position with good salary and benefits? Well, hard-cheese, why aren’t you going out and driving that proverbial cab, doing a stint at Timmy’s, bagging groceries, picking fruit, or any other minimum-wage humble thing available rather than tapping into EI? Ya bum, ya.
There’s another thing. His silly and puffed-up observation that “there is no bad job” is just so much flapdoodle. There are indeed bad jobs. There are horrible jobs, jobs that surely should be taken and “shoved”.
I’ve done a few of them myself in my younger days. Devote 8-hours a day to chipping flux of spot welds in a stinking hot, corrugated iron shed with torches flashing all around you and try to convince yourself this is not a very, very bad job.
Try offloading 100-lb bags of rock salt from a boxcar in July heat, using your bare hands because protective gloves slip on the salt that’s on the surface of those bags and is merrily putting little tiny cuts on your hands leaving you to get shit from a moronic foreman who objects to the blood smears on the bags.
Unload plywood sheets from a 600-degree hotpress using your bare hands (since insulated gloves leave residue and customers don’t like that on their fancy wallboard). Believe me you move that sheet out very quickly.
And so it goes. And other people have had worse. And the final point is, I got away from those jobs by getting an education, and I don’t regret that I did. But, the benighted Mr. Flaherty seems to think that an educated and highly skilled man or woman should be prepared to sling beer at the local saloon or pump gas rather than waiting for a position commensurate with their skills and education.
I say wait for that position if you choose. That is what EI was designed for.
I’m not even going to get started on how his economic views would be coped with by seasonal workers in the tourism sector, or commercial fishermen, both of which groups are traditionally unemployed for parts of the year..